Ahhh, procrastination… one of my oldest foes. I’ve been struggling with procrastination since… well, ever since I’ve had responsibilities, so probably middle school? I remember conversations with my friend in high school about how to solve this issue, and she sent me a blog post about how to effectively trick yourself into completing tasks and become more effective with procrastination. The theory was something like this: as procrastinators, we tend to be avoiding one thing we are dreading… but we will do anything else to avoid it. So, if you can trick yourself into putting something NOT actually that important as the top thing to dread, then you can be effective in accomplishing your to-do list below that. Now, this didn’t work for me… I mean, who can trick themselves like that? Not I 🙁 Like, isn’t the entire idea of placebos that one doesn’t know that it’s a placebo?
To dive deeper into procrastination on a personal level, why do I do it? I’ve had so many thoughts about it. Is it to increase efficiency, to limit myself on spending a certain amount of time on a project rather than continuously work on it, past the point of max gain vs time? And is that actually an underlying perfectionism? (WHAT? ME?! Ha! I’m no perfectionist, I’m far from it! Right? I mean, I make mistakes all the time and I just go with the flow, right?! At least, I used to…) Is it to avoid being bored/discomforted with doing something I don’t love to do? Is it to avoid criticism of an outcome that isn’t perfect (Oh wait, is this a version of “perfectionism”)?
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is one of the therapies that aims to change how we think and thus, our underlying issues. I think it’s actually incredibly difficult because you have to be open to the idea that your engrained thoughts may be inaccurate, which is kind of insane! There are other therapies, some focus on not your thoughts, but your emotional response to your thoughts. Who knows what’s “right” vs “wrong”, I suppose anything that helps you is “right”. I sometimes google “CBT worksheet” for what I’m struggling with. There’s usually some readings about the topic, and then a form for you to fill out that can help identify some underlying assumptions you have as well that may be inaccurate. Anyway, they help me in times of acute distress. I found this great website from the Government of West Australia with a great procrastination workbook, and they also have workbooks for Perfectionism and others. I’ve been reading through the procrastination workbook and definitely identifying my issues, which are mainly Pleasure Seeking with a splash of Failure of Disapproval and Failure of Uncertainty or Catastrophe, and a sprinkle of Depleted Energy. I have to say, reading this workbook (along with counseling/therapy) has really opened my eyes to my thought processes, which I suppose is the first step to self-improvement…
Anyway, I should actually start what I’ve been procrastinating now, rather than you know, delve into a 1-hour sidebar search and writing a blog post about it 😛 Hope this was interesting to you, though! Let me know what you struggle with (does anyone NOT struggle with procrastination??).